Evil Terrestrials and Their Toys! “The Device” review!


After years of being distant from each other, Abby and Rebecca reunite at their isolated family cabin to release the ashes of their recently deceased mother into the nearby lake. They stumble upon what seems to be a crash site of sorts and come into possession of a small sphere object. The sphere has become the object of Abby’s husband’s obsession and Abby starts to have nightmares of weird beings experimenting on her body. When Calvin becomes withdrawn and Abby learns she’s pregnant, Rebecca reveals her beyond the stars tale of why she’s kept her distance away from her sister and from their family cabin. A tale of abduction and unwanted incubation.

The Invoking” director Jeremy Berg has carefully constructed a film where the characters actually feel human. What I mean by this is that the characters don’t feel overly transcribed and built up to a point where their on screen personas are unbelievable and stereotyped. Abby (Angela DiMarco) and her husband Calvin (David S. Hogan) just work and come home while Abby’s sister Rebecca (Kate Alden) just lounges around the house as a guest and this feels more like normal life and gives a big sense of reality to this little sci-fi film. When the other world beings do make an appearance, whether in Abby’s nightmares or in the finale act, their presence thrilling disrupts the normality.
The alien creature by the Killer Makeup FX company does a not too shabby job on the suit for actor Gabriel Congdon as The Visitor. Congdon’s simplistic take on the alien doesn’t draw too much attention to, at times, the bit of costume cheesiness that oozes out especially when the alien hand bangs against the window of Abby’s house. However, I’m still very pleased with the outcome and the Visitor’s amount of screen time strives toward their anonymity that works well within the patiently paced story.
The story itself is nothing audiences haven’t experienced before. “The Device’ strikes familiarities with other more well-known films such as “Fire in the Sky,” “Astronaut’s Wife,” and even a little with the medieval fantasy film “The Lord of the Rings.” I keep imagining David S. Hogan’s, who delivered a strong performance and showed off some good acting chops through most of the film, character Calvin caressing the black sphere and gargling, “my precious;” he certainly has the face to make a great Golum. Also, where other critics might believe “The Device’s” pace is too slow, some might find the steady pace to be a nice build up, deconstructing character personas and removing their humanity and morphing them into meager savages. However, what really kills the film’s fairly solid structure is the ambiguous and confusing ending that would make the previous first two acts nullified.
I do appreciate the special appearance by Russell Hodgkinson who plays Doc on “Z-Nation” and I do appreciate, on a more serious note, the effort that went into “The Device.” With that last remark, I can’t help but to think that some scenes could have been reshot to omit movie making mistake thus placing “The Device” on a higher pedestal. For example, when Abby and Calvin are at the isolated cabin and their having a heart-to-heart talk outside on the deck, you can obviously see a car with it’s lights on driving in the background and this absolutely ruins the authenticity of the scene.
“The Device” won’t knock your socks off for it’s a basic sci-fi alien feature where subtlety is key, but this epitomizes indie filmmaking and we can’t take for granted that all films are not made equal. “The Device” is about obsession, it’s about facades, it’s about lack of communication; basically, the device itself is a metaphor for all that could be what’s wrong within a relationship whether it’s between two lovers or two families and I think that’s where “The Device” gets it correct without making a huge splash with the sci-fi material.

Don’t Push Evil or Evil Will Push Back! The Invoking review!

Adopted child Samantha Harris, now an adult woman, learns that her biological parents left her their family home and takes three friends on a trip to discover what she lost early in life. When they arrive, everything begins to go down hill as Samantha experiences realistic visions that compromises her reality and pits her agains’t her friends.

Talk about your micro budget horror! The Invoking is a prime example on how a film gets made on an estimated $11,000. That kind of money can’t even buy you a brand new car, yet you can make full-length feature film as director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and producer Jeremy Berg has proved. You just have to do everything yourself, pretty much. Accompanied with a few talented actors and actresses and you might just be able to pull off a good, low-budget horror film. Now, that begs the question, is The Invoking a good horror thriller?

In a word – watchable. The Invoking’s story lacks connectivity between the home’s caretaker, the home, and lead character Samantha. The girth of the whole movie lies hard on the story and much like a TV with a loose cable connectivity all you receive is visible static. This doesn’t necessarily mean Berg’s The Invoking is the worst film ever made as their are good highlights. For example, Samantha’s embarkment into madness with her visions are stimulating and creative.
The film’s title has multiple meanings as the supernatural grounds push the bond between the friends, the friends also push the bonds between each other as well. And we don’t know if the house is under the spell of supernatural forces either, but perhaps – just perhaps – Samantha actually has a psychotic episode as she slowly remembers, as painful as they were, her nightmare that was her childhood.
Don’t expect a big, on the edge of your seat, intense thriller, but The Invoking could work very well on stage with actors like Trin Miller, Andi Norris, Josh Truax, Brandon Anthony, and D’Angelo Midili. Not a bad freshman film for Jeremy Berg either as the man has talent in all the fields he worked on on The Invoking. Check out the DVD hitting retail shelves and online on May 12th from RLJ Entertainment!